Place of death in hospital

Susan and Angela assessed the advantages and disadvantages of a side room versus a bay very differently. The location of death within the hospital raises a number of issues.

Dying patients may be moved to a side room, if one is available. Some professional respondents felt that it was not dignified for patients to die on a bay rather than in a side room.

Although side rooms were often preferred, they were not always available. However, a side room was not necessarily considered to be the preferred place by either staff or carers. A side room gives more privacy, but also means that patients may be isolated from the rest of the ward, especially if they don’t have regular visitors.

Most families valued the privacy afforded by a side room. But some, like Susan, preferred their dying relative to remain in a bay.

It is difficult to see how hospital wards can be altered to provide a more appropriate and supportive environment for dying patients and their families.

However, it is evident that where a patient is placed within the wards can impact substantially on the delivery of care and patient and family experience of dying.

We need to make the hospital a good place to die for all patients, including the increasing number of those who will die with or because of dementia.

Watch the video to hear what staff have to say about side rooms:

Video transcript